Landscape and Garden Fall Clean-up

In Gardening, Landscaping on October 16, 2011 at 9:36 am


The days are cooling down. Frost is imminent. The sun, with its long, low rays, mellows its vibrant intensity. Morning start dark and evenings come early. It is time to hang the winter lights on the porch. The fall leaves begin their annual journey to the ground. It is time to clean-up, and prepare for the long chill.

Points to Remember on Fall Clean-ups

  • Vegetable gardens need cleaned of debris. Destroy/burn plant debris, especially tomatoes, peppers, coles, cabbage, kale, melons, cukes, and squash plants. Rake soils clean of weeds and mulch for the winter. As I clean up my garden, I give my excess vegetables to my geese and chickens. I throw the complete tomato plants to the birds to clean up. Then I can burn the plants they don’t eat. Composting at the end of the season is generally not recommended, because the debris contains a years worth of disease and bugs. I would not be afraid to compost end of the season debris if I had a shredder, and some fresh horse or chicken manure. The fresh manure layered with in the debris should reach warm enough temperatures to sterilize the compost. But why take the chance. Once you get tomato wilt it is difficult to nearly impossible to get rid of. Fall clean-ups are a must for the vegetable garden.
  • The cottage garden also needs fall clean up. Remove annuals after frost. Most perennials can be cut back slightly, but not completely. I like to neaten them up taking off maybe a quarter of the top growth, leaving the rest of the growth to protect the roots through the winter. Most perennials are fine going through the winter with no pruning. Let the snow and frost dance through your garden on the seed pods and bare branches of your perennials. Grasses should not be fall pruned. Wait till early spring
  • Most shrubs should not be pruned to go into fall. Pruning may stimulate growth. Prune in the early spring after the buds begin to break, especially roses. When Spring flowering shrubs are pruned in the fall, the pruning essentially cuts off all the spring flowers. Mophead hydrangeas, forsythia, lilacs, and spirea all have developed the flower buds by fall. Some shrubs need a little bit of added protection to survive our winters. Mophead hydrangeas and roses are an example. Wait until the ground is completely frozen before mulching for winter. This can be clear into November or early December. If they are mulched too early the ground stays too warm for too long and risk damage by January’s brutal freeze.
  • Dead branches should be pruned out of trees at anytime. Sometimes it is easier to do this while leaves are on the trees. It would be better to wait till trees are dormant. Trees absorb the green chlorophyll in the leaves for winter food. That is why the leaves turn color. By allowing the trees to go completely dormant, the tree has the maximum amount of winter food. Prune trees in late winter.


Rocky Pointe Landscaping provides a fall clean-up service and irrigation blow-outs. They service Lake Chelan; South Shore, Lakeside, Chelan, Manson, and the Chelan Falls Area. They also service the Okanogan and Methow Vallies; Methow, Twisp, Pateros, Brewster, Bridgeport, Okanogan, and Omak.

Call Cascade Mechanical for winter weatherization. Have them check out your HVAC system before the snow flies. Make sure your running efficiently. Electric rates keep going up, especially in the Methow Valley and with the Okanogan PUD. Ask Marty what you can do to save electricity this winter. It may be simpler and less costly than you imagine. Trust a professional that will be there to provide you that emergency winter service. Cascade Mechanical serves: The Lake Chelan Area – Manson, Chelan, Lakeside, and South Shores; Methow Valley – Methow, Twisp, and Winthrop; Okanogan Valley- Pateros, Brewster, Okanogan, Omak, Tonasket, and Oroville; I also know that they will go East into Ferry County and service Republic, Malo, and Curlew; Douglas County and South – Bridgeport, Mansfield, Coulee Dam, Electric City, and Coulee City.

Frozen pipes are a winter nightmare. Don’t forget to get everything buttoned up for winter. A hairline crack in your house skirting can be a source for a sub-zero wind to freeze your water solid. Have Swisher Plumbing inspect your plumbing and fix that pipe that freezes every winter. Swisher Plumbing serves: North Central Washington, Chelan, Pateros, Brewster, Bridgeport, Okanogan, Omak, and the Methow Valley

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